Landscape photography is a classic. Who has not ever tried to capture the beauty of a landscape by taking a picture? We love everyone. But sometimes this type of photography can resist us a little .. How many landscape photos have ended up in the trash of our computer because they did not satisfy us in the least?
Today’s article will quench the thirst of many nature lovers. Then I bring you a series of tips and tricks that will help you master landscape photography, produce correct photos, and even get surprisingly beautiful photographs . It is simply to know these tricks and to follow them to the letter.
But there is more. I am not satisfied with bringing you these simple tricks, but I also bring you a series of extra tips that go far beyond the technical aspect. For this, I have thought that who better than our reader Jesús Rodríguez . Based on personal experiences, he shares reflections, ideas and advice on travel photography . But that will be at the end of the article. First we go with the most technical and basic tips and tricks :
- Use a wide angle lens
- Work with small diaphragm openings
- Use a tripod
- Find a point of interest
- The rule of thirds applies
- Be careful with the sky
- Look for drama, movement and strength
- Do not be fooled by the weather
- Take advantage of morning and afternoon
- Ready for an excursion?
- Search creative views
And now, let’s see point by point in detail.
11 BASIC TIPS AND TRICKS TO GET AN IMPRESSIVE LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
1. USE A WIDE ANGLE LENS
When capturing a photograph of natural landscapes, we usually look for the widest possible framing. For this you will need to work with small focal length objectives , something between 16mm and 24mm would be fine. Other lower or higher focal distances can also give you a good result, but ideally you would move in that range.
2. USE SMALL DIAPHRAGM OPENINGS
Sometimes in portrait or object photography we like to focus on the subject and blur the background. In landscape photography it is not like that. We are interested in having the whole panorama focused uniformly. To achieve this we have to use relatively small diaphragm openings.
You already know that the higher the f / smaller value will be the opening. I recommend that for landscapes you always use openings of f / 11 or more. Be careful, if you have the camera af / 3.5 or f / 1.4 the result will be rather disastrous.
3. USE A TRIPOD
If you follow my previous advice of using small apertures (value f / 11 or more) as an unwanted side effect, the camera will have less light, so the photo will be too dark. To avoid this you will need to use slightly slower aperture speeds, which will make the photo a bit shaky and blurry. Let’s see with a very graphic video what I mean:
So it will be essential to use a tripod with which you will ensure your camera all the stability that the situation requires.
4. FIND A POINT OF INTEREST
The landscape can be amazingly beautiful, but the whole landscape cannot be the protagonist. Every successful landscape photograph contains some leading element, something that people consciously or unconsciously notice when looking at the photo, a clear center of interest. If you want your landscape to be attractive, introduce some element of prominence : it can be a tree, a building, a silhouette, the horizon itself if we find it interesting enough, etc.
5. APPLY THE RULE OF THIRDS IN YOUR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
This famous rule consists in, when framing the landscape, avoid placing the horizon line just in the middle of the frame . Instead, it should be placed a little higher or a little lower. In other words: it has to dominate either the terrestrial landscape or the sky. They cannot both share the surface of the photo equally.
Unless what you want is to transmit a lot of stability or calm, but be careful because you run a small risk. According to the artistic foundations of the composition, a horizon that crosses the photo just in half normally turns it into a boring photo. (More information on the rule of thirds with example chart here ).
6. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH HEAVEN
Heaven is an element that can bring us great joys but with which we must always be careful. Following the previous advice of the rule of thirds, if one day you find a blue sky without clouds, totally clear and boring, it is best that you reduce the amount of sky visible in the photo thus subtracting prominence.
On the other hand, for the days when the sky has an interesting mixture and contrast of blue sky and white clouds, or when it is full of drama and color, there would be something more than half of the photo.
7. LOOK FOR DRAMA, MOVEMENT AND STRENGTH
We tend to think that landscape photography is the ultimate expression of calm, peace and serenity. And it is true, but we forget that natural landscapes also sometimes express movement, anger and strength . If you want to get original and striking photos I recommend that you start working on this facet too.
Keep photographing serene landscapes, but occasionally try to capture this movement that I tell you. There are several ways to capture it: the force of the wind in the trees, the waves of the sea, waterfalls or clouds in motion, etc.
8. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE TIME MAN
The weather announces a splendid and sunny weekend, without a single cloud in the sky. Yes, to go out to the park or have some beers with friends, it’s great, but don’t think that the sunnier the day is and the more clear the sky, the better landscape photos you’ll get. As I said a few lines above, landscapes need the sky to have a little “life”, some flavor, a certain contrast. And that is the clouds .
Similarly, do not be disappointed by a cloudy day when it seems that it will rain. Sometimes a dramatic cloud, a sun that tries to make its way through a gray sky, or even a sudden rainbow can give you your best landscape photography, when you least expect it.
9. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MORNING AND AFTERNOON
No, you can not throw the morning of the weekend rubbing the pillow, richly curled up under the comforter until 11 in the morning and then complain about not being able to make good landscape photographs.
Sunrise and sunset are two moments of the day when the color of the light, its softness and its angle will help you produce stunning photographs. Think about it for a moment, how many pictures of sunrises and sunsets have not captivated you?
10. READY FOR AN EXCURSION?
Do not expect to find the best natural places at the edge of the road. If that is your case you are wasting your time. Normally you never get to portray that splendid landscape you are looking for. Usually the best landscapes are usually farther from the road , so in order to reach them you have to be prepared to take a small excursion.
You can start your trip by car but from a given point it is advisable to park the car and enter nature, on foot, equipped with a map, GPS, or some reference that helps you explore the place. Even if you don’t follow a specific point many times you end up discovering a magnificent landscape that nobody had previously portrayed .
11. USE CREATIVE “VIEWS”
If you find that your landscape photos are very monotonous, the reason may be the point of view or perspective from which you normally shoot. Usually we always shoot from the same perspective , and that is a habit to change, but NOW.
In your next sessions please try to vary in perspective: shoot from points and angles that you had not experienced before, for example from the ground that usually gives very good results.
Now, as I promised you at the beginning, I leave you with Jesús Rodríguez, a computer scientist, traveler and amateur photographer for more than 10 years. He has toured the natural areas of Scotland, the United States and New Zealand , and is a founding member of the Portfolio Natural photo collective , which we echoed with the review of his book Natural Paradises. Here are his reflections, tips and photos:
When I was a teenager, long before I knew what an SLR camera was, on one occasion a friend and I stared at an impressive poster of a waterfall in Yosemite National Park in California. That seemed a mythical and unattainable place.
Things have changed and today we can travel almost anywhere in the world at a reasonable cost. A few years ago I could see with my own eyes that waterfall in the Yosemite Valley and I spent several hours in front of it trying to make a night photography.
Traveling with our camera can be a memorable experience and a unique way to connect with nature. It can also be stressful and frustrating if we do not plan the trip with a minimum of care or go with an inappropriate mentality. In this article I want to share some tips based on my traveling experience – purely personal – of recent years.
FIND OUT BEFORE LEAVING
Planning a photographic trip is much more than looking for accommodation and booking a rental car, it is important to think about other details and know in advance what we will find. When I am thinking of visiting a place, even before deciding whether or not to go, the first thing I do is buy a travel guide, which has a lot of text and few photos, and read at least the general introduction and that of each chapter.
Once I decide to go, I usually read the entire guide and underline the places that interest me most. I begin to enjoy the trip long before packing .
Some things we should know before leaving:
- The average temperatures and rainfall for the time of our visit.
- The hours of light and the sunrise and sunset.
- If we need an electrical adapter to charge all our photographic gadgets.
- If we have to take certain precautions with the local flora and fauna (stinging plants, mosquitoes, ticks, snakes, bears …).
All this is found in a good travel guide, which I consider essential. My favorites are Lonely Planet and Rough Guides .
A few days before leaving we can check the weather forecast, and once en route a smartphone or tablet with an Internet connection can be very useful for checking the weather. Of course, try not to use the device to be all day watching Facebook or you will run out of battery for the essentials.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Going on the adventure sounds great but it is a key ingredient in the disaster recipe. What places are you interested in photographing? At what time of day will they have the best light?
It is not necessary to plan the trip to the millimeter, but to decide a route and think about how many days we want to dedicate to each place. Once underway we can decide to delay or advance our trip as we are more or less interested in each site, or the weather we find. If you travel in low season and have no problem sleeping in a campsite, cheap motel or anywhere, do not book accommodation and go deciding on the go.
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in these years is knowing how to say “no . ” Not to go to all places, not to stop at all viewpoints, not to photograph everything from all perspectives. Focus on a few sites and try to get the most out of each one .
EXPLORE BEFORE PHOTOGRAPHING
Many of our favorite landscape photographs were not taken by chance, they are the result of previous preparation and knowing the place to return at the right time. Once en route, spend some time each day exploring the places that interest you to return at sunset, sunrise or when the light you need is optimal.
SEARCH YOUR OWN VISION
On one occasion, in the same Yosemite National Park, a local photographer suggested that if at an exact time I was at an exact point I could take a famous photo of Ansel Adams. The image in question captures the moment when the sun appears above a waterfall. I am sure that the photo would have been worth it, but I prefer a mediocre photo of myself to a sensational photo of another, even if it is Ansel Adams.
Some landscapes have a very obvious framing that is hard to resist, but after taking that picture, stop for a while, look and let the landscape inspire you. Don’t just collect postcards, look for your own vision .
PREPARE A PLAN B
The chances of having the best light to photograph all the places on our route are slim, so it is good to have a plan B when possible. If you wanted to capture a landscape with sunrise light but it is cloudy, take advantage of that diffused light to photograph a nearby forest. If you wanted to photograph the sunset on the coast but there is too much fog, wait for the sun to set to take long shots of the sea hitting the rocks.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY: SIMPLIFY, TAKE IT EASY AND ENJOY
This is the best advice I can give. Remember that above getting a great photo you have to enjoy the experience. Do what you can to get that image, but if circumstances prevent it, save the camera and have a coffee, read a book or just look at the landscape.
Do not try to see everything, go to less places and stay longer in them. You can always come back next year, or the next.
If you are in front of a memorable landscape with the breeze on your face, plant the tripod and, between photo and photo, dedicate yourself to look. When the light no longer advises to continue taking photos do not go yet, stay a while.
And if you have been wanting to deepen the landscape photography, do not miss all these resources.
You already have a digital SLR camera (or at least a compact one) and very good advice. Now you just need to be encouraged. Meanwhile, if you liked this article or found it useful, I would appreciate a vote or recommendation below on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
So I am a little happier